Rethinking Halloween

By Elizabeth Wheeler

As Christian parents, it can be difficult trying to navigate how you feel about Halloween. When your children see all the other kids getting excited, they want to participate—and that’s okay. But this begs the question of whether or not you feel okay with it. Should you allow them to dress up and go trick-or-treating? There’s no guidebook on how to pick what’s best for your family.

You may think your only choices are to avoid all associations during October or to give in and let your child dress up as a witch. However, there is another choice. First, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your children about why you may or may not be participating in certain Halloween traditions. It’s important they understand why your family acknowledges what they do. This not only helps to avoid conflict, but it also helps enforce the values you’re trying to instill in your children by giving them boundaries and an opportunity to celebrate Halloween in a unique way.

God has directed us to shine light in the world. And what better time of the year to shine than on a day that is devoted to darkness? The Message Bible has a wonderful translation of Matthew 5:16, which says, “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

So, be a light in your community! There are countless families in your neighborhood who are just like you searching for family-friendly Halloween options, and there are even more families who desperately need the light of Jesus on this holiday. Make it your family’s tradition to do Halloween in your own way—one that’s fun for everyone.

Here are just two ideas you could use:

  1. Invite a family to a Harvest Festival at a nearby church. Some churches host Trunk-or-Treat and the decorations and costumes are usually kid-friendly. Gather with friends and their kids at a nearby park and plan age-appropriate activities.
  2. Have neighbors with kids join you in hosting a progressive Halloween dinner where you eat a different part of the meal at a different house. Host a fall celebration at your house with games and fun. Put out some festive fall decorations that have faith as part of the theme and have fun activity stations. For either of these gatherings, use the recipe and activity ideas listed below.

We’re not of this world (John 17:16), but we are in it, and we’re called to lead others to the Lord. Holidays like Halloween give us a unique opportunity to tell others about Jesus, His light, and hope. As you gather with others, be sure to talk about how His light drowns out the darkness of this world as you share the light of His love and salvation.

Recipe Ideas

Peek-a-Boo Pigs: Pigs in a blanket with a tiny piece of hot dog ‘peeking’ out.

Pumpkin Eggs: Deviled eggs made with orange food coloring. Use a chive for the pumpkin stem.

Worms in Dirt: Chocolate pudding with crushed chocolate cookies and gummy worms on top.

Caramel Apples: Melt caramel in a crockpot and dip apples or apple slices. For young children, buy caramel wraps you just wrap around the apple.

Pumpkin Spice Krispies: Rice Krispies Treats made with pumpkin spice marshmallows—use this recipe, but substitute the regular marshmallows for pumpkin spice ones!

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

Mac-O-Lantern and Cheese Bowls

Activity Ideas

Jack-O-Lantern Bean Bag Toss: Weigh down a few Jack-O-Lantern candy pails with sand or bean bags and have children toss bean bags into them.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Write clues and hide items for the kids to find. “Jesus is the light of the world” could be a clue to find a flashlight. “God made the rainbow to remind us of His love” could be a clue to find a bag of Skittles.

Candy Cone Ring Toss: Paint orange traffic cones with some white and yellow paint to make them they look like giant candy corns and make a ring toss game.

Read Christian Halloween Books: You can try The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs or P is for Pumpkin by Kathy-jo Wargin.